Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) will collaborate on the development of a potential Lyme disease vaccine. The increasing number of people infected with this disease can assure a consistent demand for such a medicine.
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Pfizer Inc. (PFE) joined forces with Valneva in 2020 after the latter disclosed positive results from a phase II study of the VLA15 Lyme disease vaccine.
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) will get an 8.1 percent investment in Valneva, cover 60 percent of the remaining development expenditures, and pay Valneva incremental sales royalties ranging from 14 percent to 22 percent under the terms of the agreement. The Phase III experiment is set to begin later this year.
If the companies accomplish their aims, a vaccine might be available as early as 2025. If that happens, VLA15 will be the only vaccination available to prevent Lyme disease at the moment.
One of the explanations for the rise in the incidence of Lyme disease in North America and Europe is global climate change.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of patients being treated for Lyme disease in the United States has more than tripled in the last 20 years, from 150,000 in 1998 to about 500,000 in 2018.
These figures are expected to rise further. Ticks can spread to new areas when the climate warms. As a result, infectious mites now inhabit half of the United States and have expanded as far north as Canada. The market for Lyme disease therapy is expected to be worth $3 billion by 2031.
It should be noted that Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Valneva’s collaboration is not the first attempt to give Lyme disease immunization. The GSK LYMERix vaccination was released in 1998 but was phased out four years later. It proved to be very successful and was originally well-received, with around 1.4 million individuals being vaccinated.
However, the medicine was banned due to concerns that the vaccination may provoke an immunological reaction that would result in arthritis. The link between the vaccination and the autoimmune reaction was later disproven, but the vaccine was never reintroduced into the market.
It should be noted that the Valneva acquisition will not have an immediate impact on Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE) bottom line, but will assist enhance late-stage development in a developing industry with significant pent-up demand.